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TIKTOK

TikTok is changing the rules of the music industry

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(Image credit: Pemika Chedpiroon / Shutterstock.com)

In a year where our collective attention spans have been obliterated by the ongoing global pandemic, and where we’ve all been stuck at home and scrolling on our phones way too much, TikTok’s cultural influence has continued to grow.

This is most apparent in the music industry – in recent months, TikTok has produced some of our most compelling music industry success stories. Take Nathan Evans, an unknown folk singer, whose TikTok recording of himself singing 19th century sea-shanty ‘The Wellerman’ (of all things) went stratospherically viral, winning him a major label record deal and a string of TV appearances.  

Or Fleetwood Mac, whose classic 1977 album Rumours skyrocketed back into the charts after a relatively unknown TikTok user posted a remarkably chill clip of himself skateboarding while sipping cranberry juice and vibing to the band’s classic, ‘Dreams.’ 

For music industry experts, one of the key, disruptive elements of TikTok is that it’s hard to predict which songs will go viral on the app. To a large extent, streaming services and commercial radio stations still push a predictable range of pop behemoths – your Swifts, your Grandes, your Biebers – but TikTok is a different ball game. Huge pop hits frequently won’t register on the app, while older tracks, tracks by unsigned artists or esoteric remixes reign supreme on the TikTok algorithm. 

While TikTok is often presented in the media as a kind of challenger app, this isn’t reflected in the numbers it can rack up. As Dylan Pasqua, Music Partnership Manager at social media marketing company Fanbytes told us: “TikTok is actually on another level to Instagram or YouTube. It’s much easier to get tonnes and tonnes of views on TikTok – it has a much higher growth rate.”

Pasqua works with artists signed to labels like Universal, Sony and Warner on building their TikTok presence. He tells us of a client who has “three million views on YouTube, and about 17.4 million views on TikTok” – seemingly, this is a fairly standard ratio. 

See also  4 reasons TikTok finally convinced me to invest in cryptocurrency

However, unlike streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, TikTok is primarily a video-sharing app, and was not specifically engineered for music sharing. Consequently, the process of how music actually ends up on TikTok has become contentious. Historically, while TikTok offered users a commercial library of free-to-use music tracks, it also gave users the option to upload their own audio clips. Once an audio clip is uploaded onto the app, it becomes freely available to other users. Industry insiders have estimated that 50% of all music used on TikTok is unlicensed. This has, of course, resulted in a string of DMCA takedowns, and threats of legal action from the major labels. 

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@420doggface208

Morning vibe #420souljahz #ec #feelinggood #h2o #cloud9 #happyhippie #worldpeace #king #peaceup #merch #tacos #waterislife #high #morning #710 #cloud9

♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

What’s changed?

In the last few months, TikTok has announced a string of licensing deals with all three of the major labels – Warner Music, Sony, and most recently, Universal Music Group

Notably, press statements around the deals make it clear that this heralds a wider collaboration between TikTok and the major labels. For example, Universal’s EVP of Digital Strategy, Michael Nash, said that the deal “has the shared objective of developing exciting new music experiences and features”, while Sony Music’s President of Global Business & US Sales, Dennis Kooker, said the company is “pleased to partner with TikTok to drive music discovery, expand opportunities for creativity and support artist careers.” 

Details of what these collaborations might entail haven’t been divulged yet, but statements have hinted at everything from new in-app tools and features to A&R or talent-scouting services. 

What about artists?

One obvious benefit of labels striking up licensing agreements with TikTok is that it will create a new revenue stream for artists. This is a significant development: 2020 was an unprecedentedly difficult year for the music industry, and many labels and artists will have seen entire revenue streams wiped out, as the pandemic made live events and touring impossible. The industry is still struggling in 2021. 

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However, as Naomi Pohl, Secretary General of the Musician’s Union tells us, the problems posed by TikTok are the same problems artists face with streaming in general: artists simply don’t get a fair cut. “It’s great news that artists who have their songs featured on TikTok will be properly licensed, but if the deal has been made with a major label, the already tiny payment will have be filtered through the record label – meaning that ultimately, the artist will only get around 10-15% of the total profit.” 

Pohl explains that a particular issue with TikTok is that there’s a lack of transparency involved in their payments: “If you’re an artist, and you go viral on TikTok, it can be very difficult to work out how much you’re being paid, and what the deductions are for.” 

This issue is compounded if your payments are collected through a record label: “The record labels can carefully choose how much information they want to share with the artist.” 

What does this mean for the music industry? 

While TikTok might not be the saviour of the music industry, it looks like it’s here to stay – and it’s changing how music sounds. While there have been a number of wildcard success stories, Pasqua tells us of the distinct ‘TikTok effect’ taking place in pop music: “There are some elements that just ‘work’ on the app. We look for a 15-second vocal hook, often with clear, actionable words – a call to action, of sorts. Something the user can riff on, or apply to their own life.” 

From ‘Savage’ to ‘Say So’, many of the biggest hits of the last 12 months have arrived packaged with an accompanying TikTok challenge. In a few years time, we could be looking at a media landscape where singles are accompanied by a TikTok challenge as default, in much the same way that music videos have become a standard part of the release process. 

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As well as changing how music sounds, TikTok offers fans new avenues to engage with music. During the pandemic, technology has stepped in to recreate live music experiences. Live-streams and virtual concerts have flourished: Travis Scott pulled in over 27 million viewers to his virtual Fortnite concert, Lil Nas X attracted 33 million views to his series of Roblox shows, and a livestream of a BTS concert attracted nearly 1 million viewers. It’s important to note that while the Travis Scott and Lil Nas X shows were free to attend, the BTS show was a paid livestream – suggesting that a significant number of music fans are willing to pay for virtual experiences.

@lilnasx

ROBLOX CONCERT THIS WEEKEND!

♬ Holiday by Lil Nas X – lil nas x

As a highly visual platform with a growing fanbase made up primarily of younger users, TikTok is a prime candidate for virtual concert experiences. It’s already been used successfully – a Justin Bieber concert streamed on Valentine’s Day this year pulled in 4 million viewers, making it the most-watched single artist livestream ever seen on TikTok. 

Not everyone is convinced, though. Naomi Pohl for example, feels that streaming economics is “bad for the entire music ecosystem”.

“If payments were shared more fairly with musicians, it would boost creativity, there would be a much more diverse range of music shared with consumers – which would ultimately be better for platforms, as there would be more music out there,” she says. In the meantime, we’ve seen government inquiries across the world into whether music streaming services pay artists fairly, so the dynamic between artists, streaming services, and social media platforms like TikTok could continue to evolve over the next few years.  

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TIKTOK

TikTok Expands Creator Tipping and Video Gifts, Providing More Monetization and Marketing Options

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TikTok continues to expand its creator monetization tools with the addition of video tipping and virtual gifts for regular uploads, in addition to live-streams in the app.

To be clear, live tipping and digital gifts have been available for selected live-stream creators via its Creator Next program since last year. This new expansion brings the same functionality to regular TikTok videos, which will add another way for users to generate direct income from their TikTok videos.

TikTok Creator Next

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Dan Schenker), to be eligible for the new Creator Next program, users will need to have at least 1,000 followers, and will need to have generated more than 1,000 video views in the previous 30 days.

Though TikTok does note that these requirements vary by region – TechCrunch has reported that creators need to have at least 100k followers to qualify in some cases.

As explained by TikTok:

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The new Tips feature allows people to directly show gratitude to creators for their content, much like recognizing exceptional service or giving a standing ovation. As is standard for tipping in person, with Tips creators will receive 100% of the tip value.”

Tip payments will be processed by Stripe, with creators required to sign up to manage their earnings in the app.

“With Video Gifts, also available today, creators can now collect Diamonds not only by going LIVE but also by posting videos. This also gives people an all-new way to interact and engage with content they love.”

TikTok live gifts

That will provide expanded capacity to generate real money from posting, without having to go live, which will open new doors to many TikTok creators.

In addition to this, TikTok’s also lowering the threshold for those who can list their profiles in its Creator Marketplace brand collaboration platform, which enables businesses to find TikTok influencers to partner with on in-app campaigns.

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TikTok Creator marketplace

Up till now, creators have required 100k followers to qualify for these listings, but now, TikTok is reducing that number to 10k, which will further expand available opportunities for both users and brands.

That could make it much easier to find relevant creators to partner with, in a lot more niches, which will add more considerations into your TikTok posting and engagement process.

As noted, these are the latest in TikTok’s broader efforts to provide comparable monetization opportunities, in order to keep its top stars posting to the platform, as opposed to drifting off to YouTube or Instagram instead, which have more established monetization systems.

The advantage that other apps have in this respect is that longer videos can include pre-roll and mid-roll ads, facilitating direct monetization, which TikTok can’t utilize given the shorter nature of its clips. As such, it needs to look to alternate funding methods, which will also include eCommerce listings, with direct product displays now the primary source of income for the Chinese version of the app.

The platform’s continued growth facilitates even more opportunities in this respect, with more brands looking to tap into the various opportunities of the platform, and partner with creators to maximize their presence.

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How popular, and valuable, direct tipping and gifting can be is more variable, as some dedicated fan bases will pay, while others will see no reason to donate for what they can already access for free.

But even so, it adds more opportunity, and the lower thresholds for monetization will see many more opportunities across the board in the app.

See also  Watch: TikTok Head of Global Agency & Accounts Khartoon Weiss on better connecting with ...
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Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.

The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.

With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?

TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time

Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.

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TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.

But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos.  And businesses are already catching up.

The impact of Instagram Reels

With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.

See also  Meet the Coach Bag That's Taking Over TikTok

Youtube has joined the bandwagon

While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.

But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.

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However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.

It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV

With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.

The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.

This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.

Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.

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Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?

With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.

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While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.

Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.

Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.

Essentially, ask yourself two questions:

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  • First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
  • Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?

The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.

What this all means for an entrepreneur

Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.

And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.

Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.

See also  15 Best Bryce Hall and Austin McBroom fight memes – YouTube vs TikTok fight ends in a knockout!

There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.

This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!

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How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here

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Let’s face it, TikTok is the moment.

And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!

Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.

How to create a TikTok account

First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.

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There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.

1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.

2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.

3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.

profile icon on TikTok

4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)

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sign up for TikTok using phone or email

5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).

enter birthday when signing up on TikTok

6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)

7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.

How to make a TikTok video

Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.

1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.

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2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.

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3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.

record button on the bottom of TikTok screen

4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.

tap checkmark after shooting footage

5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.

add sound on TikTok

6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.

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post video on TikTok with description

How to make a TikTok with multiple videos

Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).

1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video

2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.

3. Select all your media and tap Next.

4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)

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sync sound on TikTok

automatically sync clips

5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.

See also  TikTok's algorithm is sending users down a far-right extremist rabbit hole

hit next and add suggested sounds

6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.

7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!

5 things to know before creating your first TikTok

TikTok style is less polished than other types of video

Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.

Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.

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@ariellehartford

That finger stole the show! 😂😂😂 #bachelorettetrip #gatlinburg #caughtinabadromamce

♬ original sound – Arielle Hartford

You don’t have to dance

Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).

There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).

You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.

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@sdavidrodriguez

♬ Grab Da Wall & Rock Da Boat – 504 Boyz & Weebie

Hashtags can help more people see your post

It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).

Find the best hashtags to grow your views and help get your content recognized by the algorithm. You worked so hard on it, might as well show it off to as many people as possible.

The right song can go a long way

Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.

@suzyjonesmusic

♬ original sound – Suzy Jones

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Your greatest asset is you

Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.

Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!

@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)

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